Atlantic Long Beach pre-race notes

SATURDAY, APRIL 12, 1997 . Good morning and welcome to ROUND 2 of the 12-race 1997 KOOL/TOYOTA Atlantic Championship from the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. . A 30-minute final qualifying session is scheduled this morning between...

SATURDAY, APRIL 12, 1997

. Good morning and welcome to ROUND 2 of the 12-race 1997 KOOL/TOYOTA Atlantic Championship from the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. . A 30-minute final qualifying session is scheduled this morning between 11:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. The field will be divided into two groups. . Today's KOOL/TOYOTA Atlantic Championship race is scheduled to begin with a standing start at 3:45 p.m.

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FINAL QUALIFYING

GROUP I

11:41 a.m. - - Session begins under sunny, clear skies and temperatures in the upper 60s.

11:51 a.m. - - #15 LANG stops in turn one apex - brings out a FULL COURSE CAUTION.

11:54 a.m. - - Session resumes.

11:59 a.m. - - #14 WEST stops on course backstraight- car is moved to a safe location for the remainder of the session.

GROUP II

12:13 p.m. - - #20 WOOD spins in an oil slick in turn two - #98 BLAND makes contact with #20 WOOD - #20 WOOD resumes on course - #98 BLAND stalls, bringing out a local caution - CHECKERED FLAG.

Qualifying ends with #29 CASE MONTGOMERY, of Salinas, Calif., winning his second consecutive pole position at Long Beach and his third career Atlantic pole at 1:00.269 = 94.974 mph.

#32 ALEX BARRON, of Vista, Calif., will start the outside pole at 1:00.315 = 94.900 mph.

Forsythe Player's Racing Team driver #66 ALEX TAGLIANI, of Lachenaie, Que., scored the third fastest qualifying time at 1:00.668 = 94.249 mph. * * *

MONTGOMERY HITS THE "POLE" IN CALIFORNIA QUALIFYING

All three of MONTGOMERYS career Atlantic pole positions have come in his home state of California, and each has been on his "hometown" tracks. His first pole was won at Laguna Seca Raceway in 1995, a track where he once was an instructor at the Jim Russell School. He currently resides less than one hour from Laguna Seca in Salinas, Calif. His second Atlantic pole came at Long Beach in last year's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, a race circuit which he also affectionately views as a home track. Montgomery is originally a southern California native, having lived his childhood in Long Beach. His family moved to Moreno Valley (near Riverside, Calif.) during his teen years where graduated from Moreno Valley High School.

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BUDDY BRUNDO MIXES RACING AND MUSIC TO KEEP CREATIVE JUICES FLOWING

Buddy Brundo started racing after his wife, Susan, sent him to the Jim Russell Racing School in 1991 and he has been in love with the sport ever since. He has raced successfully in several racing series' including the SCCA Formula Continental Championship Formula Atlantic, and won the SCCA Southern Pacific Division National Formula Atlantic Championship in 1995. Brundo made his debut in the KOOL/TOYOTA Atlantic Championship at Long Beach last year in the C2 division. He also competed at Laguna Seca. Brundo, who is blind in his left eye, never thought he could race but quickly enrolled in racing school when he found out he could despite his disability. His instructor was former Indy car driver and current KOOL/TOYOTA Atlantic Championship, CART television announcer, and pit reporter Jon Beekhuis.

"I went to Laguna Seca on Thursdays and Fridays just lapping and Jon finally said, 'Buddy, you gotta race, you're ready," said Brundo. "So I did some Mazda races and loved it." He's been racing ever since. Brundo began his racing career after establishing himself as a successful record producer and engineer, and as the owner of Conway Recording Studios in Hollywood, Calif. His studio has recorded albums for groups and artists such as U2, Barbara Streisand, Cher, Guns 'n' Roses, Lionel Richie and Simply Red. Conway studios recorded the 1997 Grammy winning music of Eric Clapton, Lyle Lovett and Jeff Beck. He is planning to resume producing after an over 10 year hiatus. "I think I'm gonna start up again, just to increase my racing budget," said Brundo with a laugh. "I enjoy it. "I like the racing because it puts you in a different place and you have to concentrate on it. I find that being back in the studio and producing records is kind of the same, it's really a lot of fun and gets the creative juices flowing."

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Driver Bio Addendum

Yoichi Akase, Wilmington, Calif, (R) birthdate: May 25, 1966, Kobe, Japan

background: raced Formula Ford in 1991 - competed in Formula 2000 race at Sears Point Raceway in 1993, and limited SCCA Formula Ford competitions - ran one Atlantic race in 1995 at Long Beach finishing 26th personal: married (Jessica) - enjoys go-karting

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Series Atlantic
Drivers Jeff Beck , Eric Clapton